Pages Navigation Menu

The blog of DataDiggers

Categories Navigation Menu

Startups net more than capital with NBA players as investors

Posted by on Jun 1, 2019 in Alexa, Andre Iguodala, Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Column, Dan Porter, david stern, Facebook, Golden State Warriors, Google, Kevin Durant, Messenger, national basketball association, NBA, overtime, player, SMS, Snap, Snapchat, snaptravel, Social Media, Spark Capital, Startups, stephen curry, TC, Telstra Ventures, toronto, twitch | 0 comments

If you’re a big basketball fan like me, you’ll be glued to the TV watching the Golden State Warriors take on the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals. (You might be surprised who I’m rooting for.)

In honor of the big games, we took a shot at breaking down investment activities of the players off the court. Last fall, we did a story highlighting some of the sport’s more prolific investors. In this piece, we’ll take a deeper dive into just what having an NBA player as a backer can do for a startup beyond the capital involved. But first, here’s a chart of some startups funded by NBA players, both former and current.

 

In February, we covered how digital sports media startup Overtime had raised $23 million in a Series B round of funding led by Spark Capital. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern was an early investor and advisor in the company (putting money in the company’s seed round). Golden State Warriors player Kevin Durant invested as part of the company’s Series A in early 2018 via his busy investment vehicle, Thirty Five Ventures. And then, Carmelo Anthony invested (via his Melo7 Tech II fund) earlier this year. Other NBA-related investors include Baron DavisAndre Iguodala and Victor Oladipo, and other non-NBA backers include Andreessen Horowitz and Greycroft.

I talked to Overtime’s CEO, 27-year-old Zack Weiner, about how the involvement of so many NBA players came about. I also wondered what they brought to the table beyond their cash. But before we get there, let me explain a little more about what Overtime does.

Founded in late 2016 by Dan Porter and Weiner, the Brooklyn company has raised a total of $35.3 million. The pair founded the company after observing “how larger, legacy media companies, such as ESPN, were struggling” with attracting the younger viewer who was tuning into the TV less and less “and consuming sports in a fundamentally different way.”

So they created Overtime, which features about 25 to 30 sports-related shows across several platforms (which include YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and Twitch) aimed at millennials and the Gen Z generation. Weiner estimates the company’s programs get more than 600 million video views every month.

In terms of attracting NBA investors, Weiner told me each situation was a little different, but with one common theme: “All of them were fans of Overtime before we even met them…They saw what we were doing as the new wave of sports media and wanted to get involved. We didn’t have to have 10 meetings for them to understand what we were doing. This is the world they live and breathe.”

So how is having NBA players as investors helping the company grow? Well, for one, they can open a lot of doors, noted Weiner.

“NBA players are very powerful people and investors,” he said. “They’ve helped us make connections in music, fashion and all things tangential to sports. Some have created content with us.”

In addition, their social clout has helped with exposure. Their posting or commenting on Instagram gives the company credibility, Weiner said.

“Also just, in general, getting their perspectives and opinions,” he added. “A lot of our content is based on working with athletes, so they understand what athletes want and are interested in being a part of.”

It’s not just sports-related startups that are attracting the interest of NBA players. I also talked with Hussein Fazal, the CEO of SnapTravel, which recently closed a $21.2 million Series A that included participation from Telstra Ventures and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

Founded in 2016, Toronto-based SnapTravel offers online hotel booking services over SMS, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, Google Home and Slack. It’s driven more than $100 million in sales, according to Fazal, and is seeing its revenue grow about 35% quarter over quarter.

Like Weiner, Fazal told me that Curry’s being active on social media about SnapTravel helped draw positive attention and “add a lot of legitimacy” to his company.

“If you’re an end-consumer about to spend $1,000 on a hotel booking, you might be a little hesitant about trusting a newer brand like ours,” he said. “But if they go to our home page and see our investors, that holds some weight in the eyes of the public, and helps show we’re not a fly-by-night company.”

Another way Curry’s involvement has helped SnapTravel is in terms of the recruitment and retainment of employees. Curry once spent hours at the office, meeting with employees and doing a Q&A.

“It was really cool,” Fazal said. “And it helps us stand out from other startups when hiring.”

Regardless of who wins the series, it’s clear that startups with NBA investors on their team have a competitive advantage. (Still, Go Raptors!)


Source: The Tech Crunch

Read More

Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Kawhi vs. Giannis: Tired Raptors Head to Milwaukee for Slugfest

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Antetokounmpo, Giannis (1994- ), Basketball, Leonard, Kawhi, Milwaukee Bucks, Playoff Games, Toronto Raptors | 0 comments

The Raptors, after one of the most memorable games in league history, have to immediately shift gears to take on the juggernaut Milwaukee Bucks. Here’s what to look for.
Source: New York Times

Read More

Willie Naulls, Knicks All-Star and Celtics Champion, Dies at 84

Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in Basketball, Basketball (College), Boston Celtics, Deaths (Obituaries), Naulls, Willie, New York Knicks, University of California, Los Angeles | 0 comments

Naulls was an All-American at U.C.L.A. and one of pro basketball’s early black stars, playing on three championship teams.
Source: New York Times

Read More

Making Sense of the N.B.A.’s Wacky Start

Posted by on Nov 25, 2018 in Anthony, Carmelo, Basketball, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, James, LeBron, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Walton, Luke | 0 comments

The drama has come faster than usual this season, from fistfights to free agents to sneakerheads grabbing the spotlight.
Source: New York Times

Read More

Sports of The Times: LeBron or Not, the Cleveland Cavaliers Get Millions for Arena Renovation

Posted by on Aug 7, 2018 in Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Gilbert, Dan (1962- ), James, LeBron, Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, Ohio), Stadiums and Arenas | 0 comments

Last year, the Cavaliers secured $140 million from the local government to fix Quicken Loans Arena. Then LeBron James left.
Source: New York Times

Read More

Sports of The Times: The East Has Fallen Off the Map

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Basketball, Boston Celtics, James, LeBron, Los Angeles Lakers, National Basketball Assn | 0 comments

LeBron James as a Laker makes the Western Conference absurd. Time for most of the East to become the Far Eastern Conference.
Source: New York Times

Read More

LeBron James Joining Lakers on 4-Year $154 Million Deal

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in Basketball, Free Agents (Sports), James, LeBron, Los Angeles Lakers | 0 comments

In a move that was somewhat expected yet still surprising, the 14-time All-Star left the Cleveland Cavaliers, signing a four-year deal with Los Angeles.
Source: New York Times

Read More

LeBron James and Stephen Curry Agree: They Have No Interest in a White House Visit

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Curry, Stephen, Golden State Warriors, James, LeBron, National Basketball Assn, National Football League, NBA Championship, Philadelphia Eagles, Playoff Games, Trump, Donald J, United States National Anthem Protests (2016- ) | 0 comments

The N.F.L. champion Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have a customary White House visit, and apparently the winner of the N.B.A. title won’t go, either.
Source: New York Times

Read More

N.B.A. Finals 2018 Live: Cavs vs. Warriors Game 2 Updates

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA Championship | 0 comments

The Warriors hold a 1-0 lead after an overtime victory in Game 1. Can LeBron James will the Cavaliers back into the series? Stay here for live updates and analysis from Oakland.
Source: New York Times

Read More

N.B.A. Finals: Warriors Survive Superman’s Best Punch in Game 1

Posted by on Jun 1, 2018 in Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA Championship | 0 comments

LeBron James scored 51 points, but the Warriors held on in overtime to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Source: New York Times

Read More